What is LETS?
LETS is a system for local people to trade goods and services without using money.
It’s a not-for-profit, community-based organisation, with members offering services and goods such as DIY, music lessons, alternative therapies, gardening, loan of tools and equipment, computing, cooking, giving lifts, allotment vegetables, dog-walking, sewing and lots more. Click here for more ideas of what can be traded on the scheme.
LETS offers members opportunities to
- Save cash by using an alternative currency
- Learn, improve or perfect skills
- Get to know people in your community
In Waltham Forest members exchange goods and services using the currency of locally created LETS credits called ‘Beams’. We offer each other services and goods such as DIY, music lessons, alternative therapies, gardening, loan of tools and equipment, computing, cooking, giving lifts, home-grown vegetables, dog walking, childcare and much more.
LETS has been running in Waltham Forest for more than 20 years; the scheme has grown especially quickly over the past two years and we now have more than 270 trading members.
Our easy-to-use trading system has a database of ‘wants’ and ‘offers’. It’s up to the buyer and seller to agree a rate for a service or product, but typically people charge 10 beams an hour for their time, and cost products at the rate of one Beam to £1. Transactions are recorded electronically and members are able to view a statement of their account online.
WF LETS organises regular events for members to encourage trading. There are also events to allow non-members to find out more about the scheme including monthly drop in sessions at the Hornbeam Centre.
You can incorporate LETS into your life as much or as little as you like, but once you start, it’s easy to get the bug! One member has traded more than 1,500 beams over the last 18 months selling life coaching, IT support, website and flyer design, bike maintenance services and loaning plumbing equipment. In return he used the proceeds for repairs to windows and doors in his house, manure for his allotment, sewing services and buying locally produced crafts.
If you would like to find out more, come to one of our monthly drop in sessions where you can view services currently on offer and find out what local people have as ‘wants’. If you decide the scheme is for you, you can join on the spot. Drop-ins are held on the last Saturday of each month at the Hornbeam Café (458 Hoe Street, E17 9AH) between 10.30am and 12noon.
WF LETS not only supports our local economy, but also enhances local community networks. As well as helping you save money by swapping goods and services with other local people it’s also the perfect way to learn, improve or perfect skills and gives an easy way to meet people in your community.
There are dozens of LETS groups in the UK, and hundreds around the world. Click below for more information about